The City of Tyler will begin converting its disinfection process to free chlorine for a period of approximately one month beginning Oct. 7 and ending on Nov. 6.
Generally, there are no noticeable changes in water quality as a result of this temporary conversion.  However, some individuals may notice taste and odor changes and a slight discoloration to the water.
Many cities use chlorine conversions as a part of their routine maintenance including; Richardson, Allen, Mckinney, Mesquite and Pearland. However, because this is the first time the process has been used in many years, a through community communication plan is being implemented. It is anticipated that Tyler will begin incorporating this process into routine upkeep of our system.
The City of Tyler currently uses chloramines (a combination of free chlorine and ammonia) to disinfect its drinking water supply prior to customer distribution. This is a very reliable disinfection process that has been recommended by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for systems predominately treating surface waters, such as those in the Tyler water system.
However, it is standard industry practice to periodically convert chloramines back to free chlorine to improve and maintainin the highest water quality standards in potable water distribution systems.  In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality support this process as a necessary and effective measure for maintaining water quality.  Free chlorine is the disinfectant that the City of Tyler used for many years prior to converting to chloramines.
The City will implement directional flushing, combined with routine water monitoring, as measures to remove iron particles from water lines and to maintain the highest water quality for customers during the conversion. Some iron particles may still make it into customer service lines despite the City’s efforts. Customers who experience discoloration should temporarily flush faucets, tubs and toilets, until the water has cleared. Clothing should not be washed during times of discoloration to reduce the possibility of staining. Prior to washing clothing, customers may want to run a little water in a bathtub to check for discoloration.  Periodic pressure drops may also be experienced due to the City’s extensive flushing efforts. Noticeable water quality changes associated with conversions are normally short lived and are not associated with public health risks.
Customers can safely consume and use their drinking water as normal during the conversion period. However, dialysis patients should consult with their physicians prior to the conversion to ascertain whether pretreatment adjustments are necessary for their dialysis equipment.  Most dialysis equipment has already been outfitted with charcoal filters that remove free chlorine and chloramines; however, customers should check as a precautionary measure. The City of Tyler has notified local hospitals and dialysis clinics in advance so that they can implement process changes if necessary.
Those conditioning water for fish or aquariums may also need to make changes to their water pre-treatment process.
At the conclusion of the conversion period, which should occur on or around Nov. 5, the City of Tyler will convert its disinfection process back to chloramines. Should there be any questions or concerns regarding this temporary disinfection conversion, please contact the Tyler Water Utilities Service Center at (903) 531-1285.